Foundational Approach to Health: Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to your body’s proper functioning—including your mind and spirit. In this way, food is medicine. Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein sources, dairy, and grains will ensure that your body receives all vitamins and minerals needed for organs to operate successfully.

 

Benefits of a healthy diet:

  • Gain energy
  • Boost your immune system
  • Improve sports performance
  • Delay the effects of aging
  • Keep you active and fit
  • Help beat fatigue
  • Protect teeth and keep gums healthy
  • Enhance your ability to concentrate Ward off serious illnesses like heart disease, certain cancers, mature-age onset diabetes, and gallbladder disease

 

What does a healthy diet look like?

Dr. Dean Ornish, MD.  is founder and president of the nonprofit Preventative Medicine Research Institute. Through his medical research, he has proven that a lifestyle-driven approach to health can stop progressing diseases such as Coronary Heart Disease. He recommends low-fat, plant-based diets that use fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and soy.

Organic food is the safer choice when it comes to buying produce, as conventional varieties often contain high levels of pesticide residues. However, not everyone can afford to go 100% organic every time they shop. The Organic Diet Buddy is a guide to which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic. Check it out!

 

Why eat organic?

Pesticides are used to repel, control or kill organisms in order to reduce their negative impact on agricultural products. Modern pesticides target weeds, insects, bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and other pests that reduce agricultural yield.

The problem is that excessive pesticide contamination can be harmful to human health. Even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others.

What makes organic fruits and vegetables different is the way they are grown. For example, only fertilizers like compost or manure can be used on organic foods: chemical fertilizers are not allowed, nor are most synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. The environmental impacts of organic farming are vastly superior to those of conventional farming, with its reliance on synthetic pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers and other practices. Since how you shop is at least as important as how you vote, keep in mind how your produce shopping affects the environment.

“Even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others.”

Some fruits and veggies are better to buy organic, and others are safe to buy non-organic. Some fruits and vegetables require very few pesticides for growth. Some, due to tough skins or peels, absorb fewer residues. Many fruits and vegetables are sprayed with multiple pesticides, and act like sponges, absorbing residues that are difficult to wash off entirely. Peaches have very thin skin, and are hard to wash, so it is recommended that you buy organic if you can.

In general, if you eat the skin (peaches, apples, celery, berries), buy organic. But if you peel or discard the rind (pineapples, onions, avocados, corn), you might be OK with regular produce.

Check out Saagara's Organic Diet Buddy for a convenient, on the go guide to pesticides.

 

5 Components of a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is a key component in leading a healthy life. Even though people hear this every day, it often goes in one ear and out the other. Perhaps until something catastrophic happens, highlighting just how valuable healthy food and healthy meals are to your physical well-being.

 

What is healthy food?

People have their own ideas of what constitutes foods that are healthy vs. those that are not-so-good for you. The food pyramid we learn in grade school becomes forgotten among the sea of choices available to people that market “healthy food” when in fact they barely have any nutrition whatsoever.

“If your healthy foods come in a bag, box or bottle; they are probably not so healthy after all.”

In general, remember this great tip. If your healthy foods come in a bag, box or bottle; they are probably not so healthy after all. These types of foods have a ton of preservatives, sodium, and additives to give them a longer shelf life. They make people overweight. Fresh veggies, fruits and meats or fishes are the way to go. If you buy them organically, even better!

5 tips to healthy living!

 
fiber
1. Incorporate more high fiber foods into your diet: The benefits of eating whole grains and high-fiber foods are numerous. They help protect you against diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Foods like bran, beans and fruits and vegetables help with digestion so look to have at least three grams per serving. Remember to drink plenty of water with these foods to keep everything moving. High-fiber foods also help make you feel full, which leads you to eat less overall.
fruits_veggies
2. Load up on fruits and vegetables: In addition to providing you with fiber, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day will give you necessary vitamins such as A and C and folic acid. Try to eat as a big a variety of colors as possible, especially dark, leafy greens.

salt_sugar3. Cut back on your salt and sugar intake: Trimming your salt and sugar intake can be easy if you look for simple ways to make cuts here and there. Replace salty snacks with vegetables and sweets like baked goods and candy with fruit. Rinse canned beans before cooking to reduce their sodium content and add less salt to the cooking water of rice and pasta. Avoid the saltshaker when you sit down to eat and drink unsweetened iced tea in place of sugary sodas and juice drinks.

fats_cholesterol4. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and bad cholesterol: Cutting down your bad fat and bad cholesterol intake can make a big difference when you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet. Olive oil and ghee are better for everyday use than vegetable and corn oils or margarine. Also try putting more vegetables and beans on your plate and skip the meat.

exercise5. Stay active: Try to get up and get moving for 30 to 60 minutes a day and do something you like so you stay motivated to do it every day. You can run, swim, walk, dance, do yoga. Keeping your heart pumping and your body moving prevents diseases, promotes weight loss, builds muscles, improves your mood and improves your sleeping habits.

 

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Stress                     Breathing                 Exercise                   Diet                        Mindfulness